The NFL has come to terms with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) on a salary cap “ceiling” for 2022, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. It is $208.2 million, which, if it reaches that number, would be a more-than-$25.7 million bump up across the league from 2021.
Our Brandon Kiley was all over it:
That's a $25M bump from this year. That's huge for the #Chiefs. They're going to have a ton of flexibility next offseason (Frank, Hitch, Butker possible cut candidates - Kelce, Mahomes possible conversions) https://t.co/UnlvfCpHPR— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) May 26, 2021
The Chiefs actually came in somewhere around $188.4 million in 2021, due to rollover, something they have continued to emphasize as they made moves this offseason. Any unused cap in 2021 can be rolled over to 2022. The Chiefs, as a front office, feel the more money they can convert to rollover salary, the more flexible they become.
It’s important to note, however, that there is no guarantee the salary cap will be $208.2 million in 2022; that figure only represents the maximum it could be. If the normal calculation of the salary cap returns a figure above $208.2 million, the extra money will be used to repay some of the long-term player benefit payments that were suspended in 2020. This will allow the league to get those benefit funds back on track ahead of schedule.
Last year, the league developed a cap floor due to the coronavirus pandemic and the revenue shortfall that came as a result of it. The announcement of a cap ceiling is the league’s owners’ first step in correcting the money they might have lost as a result of the pandemic.
With an expected return to normalcy for this year’s season, it is reasonable to think the league can get to the $208.2 million ceiling, but that figure will not be known and confirmed until next offseason, when league revenue from 2021 is tallied and confirmed.
The 2019 cap (pre-COVID) was $198.2M per team, and at the time the cap was growing by about $10M per year. At that pace, the 2022 cap would have been about $218M. So $208.2M still isn't "caught up." But it would exceed the expectations of many who feared cap might stay flat.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) May 26, 2021
It is obvious, but the closer to the ceiling the NFL can get, the easier the Chiefs’ decisions will become.